This year's Decanter World Wine Awards International Trophy for the Best in Show Red Blend over £15 went to Zenato, Ripassa, Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore, Veneto, Italy 2010 (13.5%)

Tasted against:

  • Château Chevaliers Lagrézette, Cahors, France 2011; Scala Dei, Cartoixa, Priorat, Spain 2007
  • The Colonial Estate, In Exile Shiraz-Cabernet, Barossa Valley, South Australia 2011
  • Trio, Special Cuvée, Judean Hills & Upper Galilee, Israel 2012
  • Zorzal, Field Blend Cabernet Sauvignon-Malbec, Gualtallary, Mendoza, Argentina 2011

Profile:

Securing yet another Trophy for Veneto is a dazzling wine that had to see off a clutch of top offerings from some of the world’s most iconic regions, including Priorat and the Barossa Valley. But sneaking in to take the prize was this Ripasso that garnered many plaudits from the judges for its ‘gorgeous perfume’ and ‘intense but not jammy’ palate.

Zenato’s foundations were laid in 1960 when Sergio Zenato and wife Carla first started making wines in Lugana with the Trebbiano grape. Zenato’s children, Alberto and Nadia, are now on board and, since those early days, the company has expanded into Valpolicella and currently works 35 hectres of land at the Costalunga estate, the vineyards planted with Corvina and Rondinella at a height of 450m altitude. ‘We have two faces; one white and one red,’ Alberto Zenato says. ‘Both are fine examples of quality wines created with passion for the territory, its history, and a family tradition that has championed local varieties for more than half a century.’

For many years this Trophy-winner has punched above its weight but has failed to win big at the DWWA. It has now deservedly received that acclaim. First made in 1992, more than 150,000 bottles a year are sold (Zenato’s total annual production is two million bottles) in 65 countries around the world.

With the grapes being the best available from its Valpolicella vineyards, it’s a wine Zenato is naturally proud of: ‘It’s closely connected to Valpolicella’s greatest wine, Amarone, as the must is passed over the Amarone grapes. It has great intensity of flavour and a velvety texture like Amarone, but is considerably more affordable.’

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Written by Decanter